The "true meaning of Christmas" …
It first appears in the mid-19th century, and is often given religious overtones, suggesting that the "true meaning of Christmas" is the celebration of the Nativity of Christ.
But in pop culture usage, overt religious references are mostly avoided, and the "true meaning" is taken to be a sort of introspective and benevolent attitude as opposed to the commercialization of Christmas which has been lamented since at least the 1850s.
An early expression of this sentiment using the phrase of "the true meaning" is found in The American magazine, vol. 28 (1889): "to give up one's very self — to think only of others — how to bring the greatest happiness to others — that is the true meaning of Christmas" The phrase is especially associated with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843), in which an old miser is taught the true meaning of Christmas by three ghostly visitors who review his past and foretell his future.
You will find this theme in many Holiday movies for both young and old. Sit down with your family and enjoy some of these Holiday Classics and look for the “true meaning.”
It’s A Wonderful Life 1946
A Christmas Story 1983
A Christmas Carol 1951
Home Alone 1990
Love Actually 2003
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 1989
Miracle on 34th Street 1947
The Polar Express 2004
Dr. Seuess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2000
Trading Places 1983
Frosty the Snowman 1969
White Christmas 1954